Burger King And McDonald's Cut Plastic Toys From Their Kids' Meals
Burger King announced it will be removing all plastic toys from its kid's meals in a bid to remove roughly 320 tonnes of waste annually.
The changes, as part of its initiative named 'Meltdown', will be implemented in the UK from Thursday (19th September).
To match its rival, McDonald's declared it would be trailing an option where customers can swap the plastic toys in its Happy Meals for books or fruit bags.
The fast food chain will be introducing the fruit bag swap option from October, while the book swap will begin early next year.
Burger King admits it was "spurred on" by a petition started by Southampton sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan's petition against the use of plastic toys in children's meals.
The petition - which has so far had over 510,000 signatures - asks companies to "think of the environment and stop giving plastic toys with their kids meals".
In addition to completely getting rid of plastic toys in its King Junior Meals, the initiative will see plastic toy amnesty bins installed in every restaurant across the UK so customers can bring in and recycle old toys.
Burger King UK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch said: "We're making a start. This is a step in the right direction. If it makes other competitors move their practices forward, that can only be a good thing."
McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: "We recognise that some people may not want a plastic Happy Meal toy, but we also know that the gifts provide fun for many families and children.
"That's why we'll be running these trials, in order to give our customers a choice; they also can choose not to have a toy or gift at all.
"It's important we understand what our customers want and we'll learn a lot from whether they choose a fruit bag or a book over a toy."
McDonald's began introducing paper straws this year in a bid to reduce their plastic footprint following a customer campaign calling for an eco-friendly alternative which gained nearly 500,000 backers.
However, in August it was reported the new iterations cannot yet be recycled.
A McDonald's spokesperson told PRETTY 52 at the time: "Last year our customers asked us to change our plastic straws to paper ones, we listened and made that switch."
They added: "As a result of customer feedback we have strengthened our paper straws so, while the materials are recyclable, their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers, who also help us recycle our paper cups.
"We are working with them to find a solution, and so the advice to put paper straws in general waste is therefore temporary. This waste from our restaurants does not go to landfill but is used to generate energy."
Though we like to see this level of commitment from major food chains, we have to say Burger King's total removal of plastic kid's toys feels like much more of a hard line. McDonald's, we're not sure what kid would be happy with swapping their toy for a bag of fruit!
Either way, progress is progress.
Featured Image Credit: PA